Saturday, October 6, 2012

Valiant

Dawn broke on the horizon revealing what had been hidden in the night. Thaddeus, the great knight, stands next to his warhorse, Soldier, high on a hill in the mist overlooking the land. Second in command to Artemeus, a fellow knight and best friend. Both men were well-known for their strength and even greater faith in God. As children, they had seen many battles in the war-torn village they grew up in. Now as men serving the great King Arios, their faith would be tested as vastly as their strength of friendship.

Elder Abuse

I have given this alot of thought and have finally come to grips with it. It is something that has happened to me personally and now I think it is time to share my story. It has to do with senior abuse. This is quite an ugly subject, it is one that makes a person uncomfortable, but when it is happening to you it becomes dark as dark can get. I will try to trim this story not to make it a droning, whining, victim story but I believe unless you have had it happen to you there is just no other way to see how horrible this can be when you have only your words to prove you are a victim of abuse.

Two o'clock in the morning my eyes opened wide as I awoke to the sounds of music and laughter. The voices seemed so close as the fog lifted from brain, I was fast asleep with the fan above me keeping me cool on a hot summer night. I got up from my bed walked over to my bedroom window which faced my neighbor's kitchen and front room. Pushing back the blinds as I reached for the edge of the sliding window I could see so many shadows in my neighbors front room and kitchen. Some of them walking through the house and now their voices could be heard in the backyard, which I could also hear from my window.

Now with my window closed I slowly slipped back into bed. The incessant beat of the music droning I pretended it was my favorite song and let it lull me back to sleep. That is until someone screamed something about a skunk being outside. After about ten minutes of that I tried to find the beat of the music but it was not there. Instead taking its place was the roars of laughter and pool games. Rolling over I resigned myself to turning on the TV for awhile. Does anyone really know how long a while is? Well, this night it was from 2:30 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. After that I fell fast asleep.

This went on every weekend, sometimes on Friday or Saturday, but never Sunday because that was the day to recoup one's energy for work on Monday, at least for my five male neighbors who lived next door. Right before the fourth of July the fireworks started to accompany those parties. It usually ended with the local police department sitting in front of my neighbors house two cars at a time. I guess the police thought their presence was enough because according to the neighbor across the street the police never got out of their cars when they called to complain of the noise.

One night my mother who is elderly was having problems with chest pains but didn't want to get it checked out in the ER. I sat and talked with her at her bedside until she felt comfortable enough to go to sleep. Rising from the chair I went to my own bedroom and smiled at the sight of my sleeping puppy at the foot of my bed. I don't think I've ever seen an animal jump that high from a laying down position when the loud explosion went off. My bedroom window rattled as I tried to calm the puppy down. I heard my mother in the next room moan. Asking her if she was alright she asked me what the loud noise was. I explained it was the boys next door lighting fireworks again.

My anger got the best of me as the thoughts of my mother's hands at her chest. I reassured her everything was okay and walked into my bedroom throwing back the window and yelling as loud as I could because I wanted the idiot neighbors to hear every syllable, "Knock it off!" There was a five minute silence while I closed my window again followed by uproarious laughter. The party got louder and louder. I turned on my TV and watched it until the party was over at 4 a.m. before trying to go back to sleep. This was as I said before happening every weekend.

The following day I my oldest son raced in the house, I thought because he was in a hurry and wanted to borrow something he needed and be on his way again. Wrong. He asked me if I had seen my car that morning of which I hadn't even though I had strolled outside to get the paper for my mother, passing my car along the way. I followed my son outside with my stomach in my throat that led to tears when there was my rear window all over the driveway. The pain in my heart was immeasurable. Of course when my son went next door to enquire about it no one knew what had happened.

I called the police to make out a police report then called the owner of the house next door, but not before I called a glass company that would come out and replace the rear windshield for $190.00 of which I told the owner of the house. He is a nice man and was outraged at what had taken place saying, "You are my neighbor, not theirs." Then he gave me the phone number to the management company for his rented house and his cell phone number saying he would follow up in a week to see how things were going and apologized again for the trouble. The female police officer that showed up took the report and when I asked her if she would talk to the boys next door she stated it wasn't a good idea.

Two days later a woman from the management company called me. At first she wanted to know how come she had not gotten any complaints before about the noise these neighbors were making and how long had I been living in the house I was living in. The boys she said lived there for five years. Unbeknownst to her this was about the third group of boys that were living there because I had been living in the house for eight plus with my mother, who had been for four more than I.

The manager went to ask how many people were at the party. I simply answered, "Did you want me to count heads?" She retorted, "Well, were there fifty people in the house?" Continuing with her rant of smart aleck inane questions I found I couldn't take it any more and announced that if anything else happened to my car, any more beer cans found there way on our property, or any more parts from fireworks they set off next door I would have an attorney take care of it and name her in the harassment suit. Just as I was putting my finger on the receiver to hang up the manager said, "Wait a minute, wait a minute. Maybe I could talk to the owner and if I find out there have been other complaints to the police the rent will be raised $200.00 with a statement that they could move out if it didn't meet their satisfaction along with the info of complaint from neighbors to police.

That was on a Monday and needless to say Tuesday was very quiet. But of course Wednesday was the fourth of July and they had to have one last say by setting a firecracker off and laugh. But I noticed it was only one of the boys and a girl. I wondered if he was the instigator with the rest following.

The next two months parties were off and on with one party about three weeks ago. The boys intentionally talk loud by open windows. When I would get into my car one of the boys would stand by the kitchen window and call me another word for a female dog or bad word. I would pretend I didn't hear them. Of course the neighbor never said these words if anyone else was around. Sometimes it was very hard to convey to others what I was going through because they or he would only do it when I was around or if I was in my room.

Anyway, three weeks ago between 1:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. the music and laughter started. My bedroom light was off and I only had the light from the TV to show the way to the window so I could slide it shut. I overheard one of the boys telling the loud one, "She's gonna call again, keep it down." The loud one answered back, "I don't give a f***, I'm getting that apartment!" Then the voices got further and further as if they were moving to another room.

I am happy to report that the noise level is zero and there are no more parties or calling out at the kitchen window. Of course I hear the occasional banging of pots or clinging cans, but at least this is during the day and I find myself praying that the boys have finally come to their senses.

It did take quite a bit out of me in the way that I was deeply hurt by my neighbors actions. They were friends of my two sons but neither one of them associated with them and now I see why. They knew them in high school. I met all of my sons friends and they were quite nice and mannerly. I don't they remember these boys and I am quite sure there was a reason or so I do now. Maybe one day they will think back one day and ask God for forgiveness for acting so hatefully. As for me, I am working on forgiveness.   

 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hope



Today seemed as good a day as any to honor the animals we have taken into our hearts and homes. Over the years I have had my share of adopted animals. From dogs, cats, frogs, birds, hamsters, etc.

The seasoned adopter makes sure they can accommodate the "new member of the family" so as their forever home doesn't become another disappointment in their lives. Granted some people do think they can do this without really taking into consideration of the possibilities that it will take a lot of understanding, patience, and time not to mention money to take care of the animal. Sounds cold but it is a reality we must bring to the forefront of our mind or it will surely be sad for you and more traumatic to our new friend.

I thought I would never get my younger son's Rotty, Isabella, to come out from behind our couch. Her previous owner felt keeping her in a closet was the best thing for her. The breeder who was legit went on a visit to see how the puppies he had just sold were doing. It had been a few months since he had seen them and he was curious to see if they were getting along with their new families. He also wanted to make sure the family still intended to keep the puppies or had they changed their minds.

The breeder made his last round at an address he believed was a house with a big yard or so the buyer said. Instead he stood in front of a row of apartments. Finally finding the person who bought the last female Rottweiler, he rang the doorbell. The buyer was shocked and became a little insolent as to why the visit was necessary. Reluctantly the buyer let the breeder inside asking if he could get the breeder something to drink. We all know what the answer was. This enabled the breeder to look around.

For some reason, maybe the breeder heard a noise, opened a front closet door and found a water dish and feeding dish next to a blanket, but no dog. The buyer came back with a glass of water followed by his two toddlers and the puppy. By this time the breeder was back on the couch. Asking a few questions the buyer answered with what seemed to be the right answers. That is until the breeder brought up the fact that the buyer lied about the living arrangements and then caught the buyer in a lie as to where the dog ate, slept, etc. The buyer asked the breeder to leave stating it was none of his business where the dog was kept or lived for that matter.

The breeder picked the puppy up and began to leave the apartment. When the buyer tried to stop him the breeder stated he was going to call the police and the A.S.P.C.A to report his findings. The buyer yelled he wanted his money back. The breeder turned, looked the buyer in the eyes and stated that by the time he got through reporting everything the unreturned money was going to be the least of his problems.

The poor breeder tried to re-enter the poor puppy back into the next generation of puppies born to her parents but the danger of fighting was too great. Enter my son who was a friend of the breeder.

Standing in the doorway of our house was my son with this beautiful female rotty with the sadist eyes. We named her right away and Isabella just seemed fitting for some reason. I took two weeks vacation from work and every day I tried to coax her from behind our couch where she sook solice for some reason. Little by little I spoke in soft tones, and even showed her her new toys. My son and I took turns babysitting her while the other went to the store to buy things we thought she would like. Toys, blankets, bedding, water and feeding dishes, etc. Nothing made her happy.

Then morning while my son was at work, I went into the kitchen to make myself some tea before trying to work with Isabella. She saw me pass in the hallway. Slowly she crept from behind the couch and across the front room floor. Peeking into the kitchen from the doorway she watched as I put my tea bag into my cup. She didn't realize I had been keeping an eye on her from the kitchen where I was standing. It took everything I had to keep from hooping and hollering for joy.

Isabella came next to my leg and nudged me. The tears fell as I stooped down to pet her head. When my son came home from work to find me sitting in my recliner watching TV with Isabella next to me chewing on her new toy his mouth fell open. We celebrated with a nice dinner which we shared with Isabella.

It has been years since that happened and I find myself wondering if the two-and-a-half years with us made a difference in her life. We no longer have her. I am happy to say death didn't part us. The breeder lost both Isabella's parents and no longer had any of the puppies. There was kind of an understanding of "fostering" we had done and he asked my son if he could have Isabella back. No money changed hands but we had completely fallen in love with Isabella. No hard feelings came from it because of the understanding my son had with his friend, even though my son forgot to tell me.

I know she is happy from what my son says because the last time he visited his friend Isabella ran up to him, stood on her hind legs and put her paws on his shoulders as she licked his face. I would've paid a million dollars to see that one, but I know it made my son very happy.

So for those of you who have rescued animals, I say God bless you for your kindness and I pray your forever friend who finally found their forever home loves you....forever.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Do You See What I See?

Standing in one place wherever I may go I often wonder if others see what I see. But now that it is Christmas time and a busy time of year I catch myself watching people to see if they notice the little things. Many prayers go out when I feel the need, but all the wonderful things I see may seem small and insignificant to others, just the same I know God is behind it all.

A small child putting its hand to the face of a baby sibling and soothing words being said so the baby won't cry. A young man holding the door open for a mother who is trying to hold onto packages and herd four teens into another store, never once noticing how she got in the store without using her own limbs. A couple busy going down a list of names making sure they didn't miss anyone, while their five-year-old tries to keep up only to trip on his untied shoe laces.

Sometimes I wished I could shout from the roof tops. Like have we gotten so into the commercialism of our holidays that we have become numb, blind, and deaf to what is happening to those near and dear to us? But alas I feel after the staring is over one by one they will all go back to what they were doing. 

Perhaps we all need our turn at what Ebenezer Scrooge went through when he was visited by the Spirits of Christmas Present, Past, and Future.

Hold on to what really matters, those little Kodak moments when you least expect them. So we aren't going to stop shopping, or packing the malls diligently seeking the prized gift we want to give to our family and friends. Don't wait until you fall into your favorite piece of furniture before you finally think of those around you. It may be hard at first but I am sure if you can train a dog to do tricks you can rewire your thinking.

If we all did this I am pretty sure we would all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I know I am going to give it a shot this year, how about you?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sophia, Bella


Sophia, young and bright comes to the aid of her family when illness threatens her father. Interrupting her second year in college, her life takes a drastic change when a handsome young stranger enters her life. Lorenzo, a successful attorney had one thing on his mind when Sophia caught his eye, he had to have her. Life was wonderful for the happy couple, until one day while visiting her father at the hospital, Dr. Steven Spago walked in. Now, it was three lives intertwined in passion so great that Sophia knew she had to make a decision before one of them made it for her. Just when she thought she had everything under control a new twist would tie them all together…forever!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

The curls of steam floating in the crisp morning air escaped from my freshly brewed cup of coffee. Standing on the patio overlooking our backyard a twinge of loneliness enveloped me. I soon forgot about the coffee and wondered why I was feeling this way. Walking back into the house I tried to lose myself in the housework that was before me.

Making breakfast for my mother and I, I cleared the table. Washing and folding clothes was next and it was done before I knew it. Next vacuuming which didn't take long either. I had more on my mind than I thought and I had a bad habit of cleaning the house like a tornado with a blouse on when I was in this frame of mind!

My mother kept asking me what was wrong and I kept answering I wasn't sure. Never tell your mother that something has been bothering you! For the rest of the day the feeling just wouldn't go away and the more I tried to bury it under whatever I was doing the worse it got.

That night while I was trying to go to sleep I could hear the neighborhood dogs bark every once in
awhile. Trying to picture each one of them, my mind wandered to all the dogs I had had in the past. Tears filled my eyes as the memories of my last dog Pepper entered my mind. She came into our family at the right time. Newly divorced, I had just lost my job and was in a tailspin I couldn't afford to be in with two small children to take care of. We went to live with my mother and step-father who had an array of animals. Horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, and pigeons. I was used to all these animals and my kids just thought every day at the zoo was wonderful.

The next day I woke up and felt a deep satisfaction of love. Taking care of something. Something. Taking care of something...that's it! I immediately felt as if a burden was lifted when I finally figured out what was bothering me. I waited until my mother woke up then carefully told her what I felt had been gnawing at me. My mother isn't an animal lover by nature. She just fell into it when her children and grandchildren brought strays home. At first, my mother was totally against the idea saying she didn't want any animals anymore. When I told her I felt this is what I needed and maybe I should move out now that my kids were grown and out on their own. This way I could take care of my animal in my own place.

Two days later my mother made an announcement and informed me that if I felt this strongly about having an animal she didn't think it was such a bad idea after all. I called my little sister in Texas to ask if she had any puppies because she and her husband are breeders of Mini Schnauzers. My sister told me she had one female left that was the runt of the litter. If I wanted she would ship her out to me. But the airport had different ideas. Days of arguing and trying to understand that the puppy couldn't be flown if the heat index was 85 degrees and above and no relief in sight under the scorching summer sun.

Calling out to God to help me get through all this red tape and get my puppy home to me left me utterly exhausted. Then one morning the phone rang and my brother-in-law told me he had made a phone call to an airport that was three hours from their house that agree to fly the puppy earlier, like at 
6:00 o'clock in the morning and she would land two hours later. My brother-in-law made arrangements to have the puppy flown two days later to an airport that was an hour away from where I lived. I didn't mind and my brother-in-law just wanted me to stop crying!

When I picked the puppy up I fell in love with her as I lifted her out of the crate she was shipped in. I knew instantly that I wanted to name her Grace. It was the grace of God Himself that made a way when there seemed only impossibilities. Like when He parted the Red Sea. Like when David slew Goliath. When everything from the time I became aware of Him to the time I decided to accept Him as my Lord and Savior began to all make sense in this one moment. Every moment my Father has His hand in making the impossible become possible. I have finally learned that God is bigger than all my problems and bigger than all my fears with a front row seat to what it feels like to be a part of what His love is all about. Gracie has become the song in my heart that I needed so badly, for so long.   

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Grandmas

I remember at one time praying to God for grandchildren. My older son was seeing someone, while the younger one got married. A year later my oldest son became a father to my granddaughter, Sophie. The relationship between his girlfriend and himself didn't work out but they make it work for Sophie's sake. Almost two years later he became engaged to his new girlfriend and they welcomed my grandson, Gavin, into the world. I thought my life was complete as a grandmother until my youngest son and daughter-in-law had a baby girl, Lily three months later.

I started buying baby clothes, cribs, toys, bottles, diapers, wipes, etc. and that was just for my house! When the babysitting started I wanted to be ready for the adventure. My mother, their great-grandmother, joined in the effort as well. We soon became known as "The Grandmas". My mother was known as Nana, so I wanted a special name as well. Mimz came to mind because my mother loves watching English movies. Sophie referred to me as Mim and my mother as Nana, but the adults just called us the Grandmas.

She loves to sit on my recliner rocker with me while we watch Elmo. Sometimes we will watch opera and she loves to pretend she is singing. She is getting older and can now make me laugh until my sides hurt. Her antics make her Nana laugh as well. Now we have little tea parties with all her dolls.

Now her brother Gavin, is beginning to recognize people. The grandmas get a special smile now and again. When I sing to him and my mother joins in he lets out a little giggle or falls fast asleep if it includes being rocked to sleep. I can hardly wait until he can walk so we can run around the house with his sister and chase after Nana. It will be fun when it happens.

Lily will be next in line to complete the ensemble of pure craziness that the grandmas can hardly wait for. She will join her cousin, Sophie, in tea parties and feeding their babies. Then Gavin will come along and either join in or make them scream as he disrupts their tea party or takes off with their babies. But the grandmas will make everything right again.

Seems a bit overwhelming but I am looking forward to it all as is Nana. Because if anybody can pull it together, patch it up, or put a band aid on a boo boo, we can. With a special kiss, a warm hug and a smile this is what grandparents aspire to be. Even though there are no grandpas on either side, the women in this family are very strong when they need to be. The grandmas will prevail, by the Grace of God, to be all that they can be for all that come to us because of a dream in a heart so long ago to be just that....a grandma.